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THE SEVENTH DAY
The first three verses here are directly connected with chapter 1. "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished." The work of the first creation occupied six days. "All the host of them" evidently refers to the innumerable host of stars and planets which are set by God in the heavens for the benefit of man on earth.
Number 7 is the number of completeness, and on that day God rested from all His work. In this case only we read of His blessing the day, as well as sanctifying it. It is set apart from all the others as having a far superior significance, "because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." Creating is bringing into existence from nothing, but making is modeling something from what had already been created. God's literal rest on that day is significant of something much more important.
As to the personal application, this indicates the completeness of God's work in a believer. God rests and the believer rests in the calm satisfaction of God's sufficiency. This corresponds to what is said of "fathers" in1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 2:13-14, "I have written unto you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning." In speaking to fathers, nothing is added in the way of exhortation (as for young man and little children), for fathers are looked at as mature in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus and calmly at rest because of His sufficiency.
The dispensational application of the seventh day takes us beyond time "unto all the generations of the ages of ages" (Ephesians 3:21 - J.N.D.trans.). Though in the first six days we read of the evening and the morning, yet there is no mention of this on the seventh day, for there is no reckoning of time in eternity. God has worked and will work until the thousand years of peace is completed and the judgment of the great white throne takes place. Then He will rest with a rest unbroken by morning and evening. His rest after the six days of work in connection with the first creation was broken by Adam's sin, and since that time, until sin is totally banished from God's creation, God has worked, as the Lord Jesus said, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working" (John 5:17 - NKJV).
There is also another application of the seventh day to the nation Israel. The millennium will be a comparative rest to the nation as such, after centuries of trouble and sorrow. As to this time, Zephaniah 3:17 tells us, "Jehovah thy God is in thy midst, a mighty one that will save: He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love; He will exult over thee with singing." Yet this is only a partial fulfilment of the truth of the seventh day rest, for it is not God's final rest, but a foreshadowing of it.
THE GRACE OF THE LORD GOD IN CREATION
Up to the end of Chapter 2:3 the name God appears 35 times. Beginning with verse 4 there is a change, however. No longer is the name God used alone, but "the Lord God" or "Jehovah Elohim," used 11 times in chapter 2. The reason is simply that in the first section the great power of God is seen in creating and making. In the second section the creation is looked at from the viewpoint of God's gracious relationship with mankind. The name "Jehovah" is significant of the kindness of God in drawing near to mankind in blessing. Thus it is used consistently in regard to God's covenant relationship with Israel (Exodus 6:2-8).
Creation therefore did not come into being merely as a display of God's power, but as a sphere in which God's tender interest in man is wonderfully evident.
Beginning with verse 4 is "history of the heavens and the earth when they were created," and expanded view of what has been told us in Chapter 1. The Lord God made the earth and the heavens before plant life of any kind existed. Then even when He had introduced vegetation there was no rainfall, but a mist that went up from the earth to water the face of the ground (v.6). This is another evidence of God's authorship of the Bible, for this is something that man would never have imagined. Though there were "waters above," God did not use them as rainfall. How the earth produced the mist we do not know. However, plants were made to grow in the earth -- grass, herbs and trees -- only three days before God created man to care for them.
While we are told of God's creating man on the sixth day, now we are told the means of His doing this (v.7). Nothing like this is said of the fish, animals or birds. But "the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." It is man's body that is formed of dust. This is certainly intended to keep us from being proud of ourselves! But on the other hand, man is given a dignity far above the animal creation. God's breath in his nostrils separates him completely from the rest of earthly creation. This should make us both thankful and serious in realizing that such a dignity brings the responsibility of representing the God who has breathed into us.
Though fish and animals are also said to be "living souls" (Chapter 1:21,24 - J.N.D.trans.), yet man differs from the entirely in the say in which he became a living soul. We learn later in scripture that man has a spirit and soul and body (1 Thess 5:32), but in his present state he is characterized more by his soul than he is by his spirit, therefore is called "a living soul." Yet when God breathed into him there is no doubt that he received a spirit as well as a soul, for the very word "breath" is the same Hebrew word as "spirit." Elihu says, in Job 32:8: "But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding."
Man's soul gives him feelings, emotions, desires and even intuition, similar to what is seen in animals. But his spirit gives him intellect, understanding, reasoning power that can lift him above the level of his feelings and desires. Also, now that sin has entered creation, his spirit gives him a conscience to discern between good and evil, and which warns him against evil.
Men have planted and developed magnificently beautiful gardens in our day, but when the Lord planted a garden in Eden before sin caused the curse to affect the ground, before weeds, thorns and thistles did their unsightly damage, the beauty of that garden must have been wonderful. The place was ideal in every way for the comfort and blessing of man. Every variety of fruit tree was there, beautiful to the sight and its fruit edible and good.
The tree of life is singled out as being "in the midst of the garden," but in spite of this is was evidently ignored by Adam and Eve. Its great significance, however, is brought into sight again in the book of Revelation (ch.2:7 and ch.22:2), while in between the shadow of death broods over the whole history of man.
But there was another tree in the garden, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." This was a fruit tree also, its fruit good, its appearance pleasant (ch.3:7). This tree and the tree of life stand in direct contrast to one another. Both were put there as a test for man. Which would he choose? The tree of life speaks of Christ. But man naturally will ignore the blessed Christ of God and choose that which has been forbidden by God.
A river is also mentioned, flowing out of the garden, evidently having its source by a spring from the earth, but watering the garden as it flowed. This speaks of the blessing of God by His word and Spirit, as does also the "river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb," described inRevelation 22:1; Revelation 22:1. This river from the garden of Eden, however, was parted into four different rivers, indicating increasing blessing as the waters flowed. The last two rivers, Tigris and Euphrates, are prominent rivers today, though the contour of the land will have been so changed by the flood that their courses cannot be the same.
There was work for Adam to do in cultivating and caring for the garden (v.15), though it would not require the same toil that became necessary after the ground was cursed with thorns and thistles, etc. (ch.3:17-18). Then the Lord gave full permission to Adam to use all the trees of the garden as food, with only one exception. Of course there was great abundance to more than meet all human need, so that having one tree kept from them was certainly no hardship at all. God told Adam that this tree was "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and plainly forbid his eating of it, adding too that eating of it would certainly incur the penalty of death (v.17).
Though in Chapter 1:27 we read of the creation of both the man and the woman, in Chapter 2:7 we are told how man was created, and in Chapter 2:18-24 we are given an explanation as to how the woman was made as a complement for man. The words of the Lord God in verse 18 must surely be willingly agreed to by every man, "It is not good for the man to be alone." Man has been so created as to crave company. Also, there is a higher spiritual reason for this. The Lord Jesus, in becoming Man, has a nature that is not satisfied without the companionship of one who has the closest relationship to Him, that is, the church of God, the bride who is dear to His heart and who shares in the position and blessings that are His.
The God who created within man the desire for company has also fully desire: "I will make him a helper suitable for him." Just so, the church provision of a helper for the Son of Man. However, in verses 18 and 19 reminded of the animals and birds having been formed by God out of the ground. Though God brought them to Adam, who was able to give names to all of them (a monumental project!), yet none of them could provide the companionship that Adam required.
Certainly God could have created a wife for Adam in a different way if it were His will to do so. But He chose to do this in a way that man would never have imagined, and exhibit a wisdom that is far higher than man's. He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and removed one of his ribs, closing up the wound (without sutures!). "And Jehovah Elohim built the rib that He had taken from Man into a woman, and brought her to Man" (v.22 - J.N.D.trans.).
Why did the Lord God go to such pains in the case of the woman's creation? Does it not show that He is not merely displaying His power in this matter, but rather His great love that works in accomplishing proper results in individual souls and in the church of the living God? This is the first time the word "built" is used in scripture (see a Hebrew concordance), for it speak of the patient labor of the Lord in building up the church as a suitable companion for Himself. The Lord Jesus says inMatthew 16:18; Matthew 16:18, "on this Rock I will build My church." God's building has permanency in view. Men may build their huge edifices and cities, but all will come to ruin, while that which God builds will remain.
Adam's sleep speaks of the death-sleep of the Lord Jesus in His great sacrifice of Calvary, for it was from this great sorrow that the church was born. She is the direct result of the work of the cross. She is taken from His side, not from His head, to take a place over Him, nor from His feet to be a mere slave under Him, but from His side, to be a suitable companion beside Him.
More than this, Adam speaks of Eve as "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (v.23). She was actually of his body before she became his wife. Similarly, today the church is seen by God as "His (Christ's) body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:23), and in glory will be presented to Him as His bride and wife (Ephesians 5:17).
As well as God's seeking to impress on us the reality of the relationship of Christ and the church, however, He is showing how close is the unity of husband and wife in God's sacred ordinance of marriage. Today this has been terribly violated by the selfish independence of both men and women, but God's word is plain, "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (v.24). Thus God established marriage as the first of human relationships, and He makes it clear for all succeeding generations that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. It is just as evident that the woman should leave her parents to become fully devoted to her husbands. The word "cleave" is beautiful here. It involves the reality of love, of devotedness and of faithfulness.
From the beginning God's thought of marriage was one wife for one man. The man was to cleave to his wife, not to his wives. Its true that many Old Testament believers had more than one wife, but this was contrary to God's word, though He bore with it because of the hardness of men's hearts. Only in the New Testament was this corrected by the Lord Jesus, together with the question of divorce (Matthew 19:9). Of course in the world today bigamy, polygamy, adultery and divorce are widespread. Only among Christians can we expect the true character of marriage to be maintained, and this should surely be the case since believers have known the living reality of the grace of God revealed in the person and work of their Lord and Savior, though too many believers also have succumbed to the attacks of the enemy in this matter, sadly failing in their Christian testimony.
In their innocent state it was perfectly normal for Adam and Eve to be naked. When by sin they acquired a conscience, however, God implanted within them a sense of shame in being naked. Animals do not have this, but even in the lowest type of human culture, conscience speaks.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Genesis 2". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany